Man on floor doing yoga, his wheelchair behind him

Ever wanted to give yoga a try? For the uninitiated, yoga can seem a bit intimidating, between all the unfamiliar poses named after animals (downward-facing dog, crow, pigeon, lizard, the list goes on and on….) and what appear to be impossible physical contortions.   Now PCAS has made yoga accessible for anyone and everyone, thanks to volunteer Mamie Guidera who leads 75-minute session every Thursday evening at Lloyd Hall in Philadelphia.

The program, designed for people with physical disabilities began in March of this year. Participants are encouraged to move through a series of yoga poses with coaching about how to adapt traditional positions to meet individual needs and abilities. Volunteers are on hand to assist and/or participate themselves, depending on the circumstances. Participants work largely on a mat whether sitting, standing , kneeling or whatever their capacity.

Two people doing yoga pose

PCAS Yoga

In an idyllic setting overlooking the Schuylkill River and framed by the setting sun, the weekly session is a terrific opportunity to quiet the mind while stretching and strengthening the body. And like other PCAS activities, the program brings together a diverse community of people interested in learning about and practicing yoga.

“It has been great fun, people have really progressed, and it is the only yoga class with a real dog!” says lead instructor Mamie Guidera, referring to a participant’s service dog.

Like rowing and other PCAS activities, volunteers are truly needed. Ideally, each participant has a one-on-one helper, and volunteers do not need to be experienced in yoga.

So if yoga (or volunteering) has been on your to-do list, or if you are just looking for an hour+ in your week to do something just for you, join the group at Lloyd Hall, Thursdays at 6:30pm. No experience or equipment required, just loose-fitting clothes, interest, and enthusiasm! Plus a mat, please bring your own.Yoga pose over wheelchair

If you are interested in participating and/or volunteering please contact pcas@centeronline.com or Mamie Guidera at guidera@nursing.upenn.edu